hmg_nyc_ciosummit_croppedHow do you define the characteristics of great leadership in the modern corporate organization? That's a question that invariably arises during my discussions with top executives at major companies all over the world.

Today, a large part of leadership is strategic. The best leaders do more than deal with current-state problems. They see around corners, look over the horizon and develop a clear vision of the future. Then they act boldly and courageously to bring that vision into reality.

At the HMG Strategy 2018 Financial Services CIO Executive Leadership Summit in New York last week, I had the honor of moderating a truly brilliant panel of experts in the field of executive search. The panelists included Renee Arrington, SVP, Pearson Partners International Inc.; Chuck Gray, Consultant, Egon Zehnder; and Stephen Spagnuolo, Managing Director, Digital Security & Risk, Quantum Search Partners.

I asked them to describe the qualities of great executive leaders. Here's a very brief topline summary of useful insights they shared with our audience. Great leaders:

  • Focus on identifying and solving strategic challenges.
  • Always look for new ways to create revenue and drive business growth.
  • Pay attention to current events and know what's happening outside their organization
  • Leave behind a legacy of great teams
  • Understand how their companies make and spend money; they know how money flows in and out of the organization
  • Have genuine intellectual curiosity
  • Understand the value of reverse mentoring as a technique for staying on touch with latest trends and shifting markets
  • Recognize why innovation is absolutely essential in modern ultra-competitive markets; they learn how to "fail fast, fail cheap" when developing new products and services.

Additionally, great leaders understand that technology has become a strategic weapon. That concept of "technology as a weapon" is radically different from the traditional notion of IT as a back-office function. Today, technology is front and center - you simply cannot compete without superior technological capabilities.

World-class leaders convey their ideas and describe their goals in terms that are crystal clear and easily understood by everyone in the enterprise. In other words, they are totally honest and forthright. They work hard to avoid confusion and misunderstandings. Great leaders strive for clarity, effective collaboration and a shared sense of purpose. 

Those insights are only a small sample of the truly remarkable thought leadership shared at last week's summit. In addition to the panelists mentioned above, our speakers and presenters included Marianne Bachynski, COO Capital Market Operations, FIS; Raj Badhwar, SVP & CISO, Voya Financial; Howard Bruck, President & CEO, Farm Credit Financial Partners, Inc.; Stephen Davy, Managing Director/CTO, Societe Generale Corporate and Investment Banking; Anthony Dagostino, Global Head Cyber Risk Solutions, Willis Towers Watson; Tsvi Gal, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley; Tom Golway, Chief Technologist - Financial Services, Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Dustin Goodwin, CIO, Icahn Enterprises; Ed Soo Hoo, Data Center Evangelist, Lenovo; Ondrej Krehel, CEO, LIFARS; Swamy Kocherlakota, Global CIO, S&P Global; Ajoy Kumar, Head of IT Risk Analysis and Reporting, The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation; Kevin McCleary, U.S. Secret Service, Criminal Investigative Division/NCFTA; Harry Moseley, CIO, Zoom; Dave Shanley, VP of Product Marketing, Jama Software; Pat Steele, Chair, CIO Advisory Board, Blumberg Capital; Bruce Taragin, Managing Director, Blumberg Capital; Guy Tallent, VP Product & Community Development, Sitehands; Luis Valdich, Managing Director, Venture Investing, Citi Ventures; and Sangy Vatsa, EVP & CIO, Comerica Bank.

At HMG Strategy, we're actively supporting the next great generation of great technology leaders. We've created a truly global peer-to-peer platform to deliver world-class insights and ideas to the global audience. Please join us at one of our upcoming summits and learn how to lead, re-imagine and reinvent the modern enterprise to create a culture of genius and drive growth in unprecedented times